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Source: Graphic.com.gh

The Minority Leader in Parliament, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is in a battle of his life to retain the Suame seat in the Ashanti Region as the New Patriotic Party (NPP) goes to the primaries tomorrow.

His seat is one of the hottest in Parliament, as he leads the Minority and is part of the leadership of the House.

But he has to win the primaries in his constituency first, as his defeat will be the biggest upset in the primaries.

Two parliamentary aspirants, Mr John Darko, aka Lawyer Darko; and Mr Kwadwo Boateng Genfi, aka Boat, a 56-year-old business consultant, are moving heaven and earth to unseat the Minority Leader, accusing him of doing little for the constituency.

However, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu is leaving no stone unturned in his effort to retain his position as the parliamentary candidate of the NPP in the Suame Constituency. Indeed, a number of his colleague MPs have thronged Suame to canvass for votes for him, extolling his strong virtues and credentials.

The primaries are also expected to be keenly contested in most constituencies all over the country, particularly Asokwa, Nhyiaeso, Abuakwa South and Abuakwa North, Ablekuma North, Ofoase-Ayirebi and Gomoa West. Others are Oforikrom, Kwadaso and Effiduase.

Particularly in Manhyia North and Nhyiaeso, the incumbents, Collins Owusu Amankwah and Richard Anane respectively, are in battles of their lives to retain their candidature.

In Asokwa, where the contest has been described as the battle of equals, Mrs Patricia Appiagyei, popularly referred to as Mama Pat, the incumbent, has pledged to maintain her position.

However, Mr Maxwell Kofi Jumah, affectionately referred to as Kofi Ghana, is insisting that though he lost the bid to Mama Pat in the last primaries, he has strategised, corrected the wrongs and is battle-ready to unseat her this time.

Mr Jumah is a two-time MP who was succeeded by Mrs Appiagyei.

Other incumbent MPs who are in similar must-win situations include Lawyer Atta Akyea in Abuakwa South and Mr J.B. Danquah Adu in Abuakwa North.

Political watchers are keenly observing how Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah and Mr George Andah, new entrants, will also fare as they contest the primaries in Ofoase Ayirebi and Awutu Senya West, respectively.

Meanwhile, some incumbent MPs are taking it cool, as they are going unopposed.

They include the Deputy Minority Leader, Mr Dominic Bingab Aduna Nitiwul, Bimbilla; Dr Nana Stephen Ato Arthur, Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem; Mr Francis Addai Nimoh, a former presidential aspirant, Mampong, and Mr Dan Kweku Botwe, Okere.

The parliamentary primaries will come off in 245 out of the 275 constituencies across the country.

This means delegates in 30 constituencies will miss the opportunity to elect their candidates because the constituencies are grappling with a variety of outstanding issues relating to the primaries, including the candidature of some of the aspirants.

The 30 constituencies are New Edubiase, Akrofuom, Adansi Asokwa, Manhyia North, Juaben and Kumawu, all in the Ashanti Region; Kintampo North in Brong Ahafo; Upper Denkyira West in Central; Talensi in Upper East and Nadowli Kaleo in Upper West.

Others are Dome-Kwabenya, Tema West, Tema Central, Tema East, Ayawaso Central, Okaikoi South, Klottey Korle, Oboom-Domeabra, Ablekuma West and Krowor, all in the Greater Accra Region; and Ho Central, Nkwanta South, North Dayi, Krachi Nchumuru and Ketu North in the Volta Region.

The rest are Bia East, Bia West, Juaboso, Akontombra and Kwesimintsim in the Western Region.

The date for the primaries in those constituencies would be announced in due course, according to the NPP’s General Secretary, Mr Kwabena Adjei Agyepong, who told the Daily Graphic that everything was being done to address the issues at stake.

From the Greater Accra, Abdul Aziz reports that only 24 constituencies out of 34 will hold the primaries. This is because the primaries in 10 constituencies have been put on hold.

This, however, has not removed the steam from the primaries in the region, especially in constituencies such as Okaikoi North, Anyaa Sowutuom and Weija/Gbawe where incumbent female MPs are being challenged.

Reports reaching the Political Desk from Okaikoi North are that because the incumbent Mrs Elizabeth Sackey is not seeking re-election, the floodgates have been opened for four aspirants, including a female, to contest.

They are Ms Francisca Ayorkor, Mr Boateng Amposem, Mr Kenneth Adjei Koranchie, the Editor of the Searchlight, who is using his incarceration by the Supreme Court to seek sympathy votes; Mr Fuseini Issah and Seth Adjei Baah, alias Shaba, a former MP for Nkawkaw.

In Weija/Gbawe, three aspirants, including a female, are contesting the incumbent MP, Mrs Rosemond Aborah.They are Mr Owusu Afriyie; Mr Kofi Yamoah and Mrs Tina Mensah.

In Sowutuom, Mrs Ayorkor Botchway is being keenly challenged by Mr Dickson Adomako.

Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor reports from Kumasi that in the Ashanti Region, 138 candidates, including 11 women, are contesting the parliamentary primaries in the 47 constituencies in the region.

The NPP won 44 out of the 47 parliamentary seats in the Ashanti Region in the last election. Seven of the incumbent MPs are going unopposed.

Hot spots

In the Kumasi metropolis, four of the sitting MPs are being given a run for their money as they face serious opposition from their contenders. They are Kwadaso, Nhyiaeso, Suame and Asokwa.

With the exception of Asokwa, where Mr Jumah is staging a comeback, the incumbent MPs in the other constituencies are facing stiff competition from mainly young contestants.

From the Eastern Region, George Folley reports that 84 people are contesting the primaries in the Eastern Region.

Out of the 33 constituencies in the region, eight sitting MPs are going unopposed, while eight women are taking part in the primaries.

The constituencies where the contest has been described as unprecedented are New Juaben North, New Juaben South, Abuakwa North, Abuakwa South, Lower West Akyem, Abirem, Abetifi and Nkawkaw.

Others are Asene-Akroso-Manso and Akropong.

The primary in New Juaben North has attracted the interest of party activists, as the incumbent MP, Nana Agyei Boateng, comes up against a former regional chairman of the party, Dr Stephen Annor.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the First Regional Vice-Chairman of the party, Alhaji Umar Bodinga, said the primaries had seen the emergence of a number of youth activists.

He said 20 young people were contesting the primaries, unlike previous ones in which only six youth contested.

Emmanuel Adu-Gyamerah reports from Sunyani that 91 parliamentary aspirants in the Brong Ahafo Region who filed their nominations to contest the primaries in the 29 constituencies in the region have been certified to take part in the primaries.

The primaries will, however, not be held in Sunyani West and Jaman North because nobody challenged the incumbent MPs of those constituencies.

The Assistant Brong Ahafo Regional Secretary of the NPP, Mr Kofi Boateng, who briefed the Daily Graphic on preparations for the primaries, said notice of polls had been placed at all the 29 constituency offices in the region. Women contestants

Only seven out of the 91 contestants are females. They are Freda Prempeh (Tano North), Cecilia Gyan Amoah (Asutifi South), Gifty Akosa Arthur (Nkoranza North), Charity Dwomoh (Tain), Helena Awurusa and Bintu Farizana Ibrahim (Banda) and Ruth Debrah (Techiman South).

The NPP currently has only one female MP in the region, in the person of Ms Prempeh, and it is expected that one or two more women will have the chance to contest the 2016 parliamentary elections after the primaries.

Incumbent MPs

All the 13 NPP MPs in the region are seeking another bid to contest the 2016 parliamentary polls.

With the exception of Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Sunyani West, and Mr Siaka Steven (Jaman North) who have sailed through because nobody is contesting them, the rest are facing stiff opposition.

Comeback

Five former MPs who are taking part in the primaries will be looking forward to winning in order to take part in the 2016 elections to see whether they will have another chance to enter Parliament.

They are Professor Christopher Ameyaw Akumfi (Techiman North), Alhaji Moctar Bamba (Wenchi), Captain Nkrabea Effa-Dartey (retd) (Berekum West), Mrs Cecilia Gyan Amoah (Asutifi South) and Mr George Yaw Boakye (Asunafo South).

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